My friend Mike and I have had this game we’ve been playing for probably five years.
We go to a bar or coffee shop with notebooks.
One of us will come up with a topic, and the other word count, and we write a poem in that many words about the topic.
Yesterday we were at Zeitgeist, which is probably the coolest spot in San Francisco. With a large outside beer garden (probably seats 150+), dozens of great beers on tap, and a crowd that gives you hope in humanity, Zeitgeist has become a regular spot of ours.
The beer garden’s share-tables-with-strangers thing stirs the pot.
So, yesterday the people sitting next to us noticed Mike and I writing and they asked what we were doing (every time Mike and I go out and write, people ask this). We told them we like to write.
Within minutes, one of the guys sitting next to us (who was wasted) said, “alright, I’ll give you a topic and you have to write about it!”.
We said sure, we could do that. He was surprised, we hadn’t told him that we typically invited strangers to give us a topic.
I asked him for a word count.
“150” he said.
“Usually we just do anywhere from 2 – 20 words, we like really short poems” I said.
“150!”. He was drunk and insistent and I could see I wasn’t going to win.
“The topic is — ‘diversity in this crowd!'”. He then allotted us 15 minutes. He clearly did not get the point that we like short poems so we can move on – after all, this is a drinking game.
I finished mine in about 5 minutes. I wasn’t racing, but I knew I was done when the thought that came to me was down on paper. Mike went down to the wire on time – there was a countdown that forced him to drop his pencil, as though he were taking the SAT’s.
So here is mine:
The Diversity in this Crowd
Do I define the diversity in this crowd
by the distance between my identity crisis
and the stereotypes that deny you yours?
There is only:
Who is here
And who is not
Who is sober
And who is not
Who is happy
And who is not.
But who is?